Holiday Crackdown on Drunk Drivers by State and local law enforcement

State and local law enforcement agencies will work overtime during the coming holiday season to identify and arrest drunk drivers who are on Arkansas streets and highways. The heightened enforcement campaign will begin December 20th and continue through January 2nd.

Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be part of the initiative designed to keep Arkansas roadways safe during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The crackdown is part of the annual “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” campaign.

“After hearing about the dangers of drinking and driving time after time, most people have gotten the message to plan a safe way home if they’ve been drinking,” said Colonel Winford E. Phillips, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Millions of Americans still think they can safely handle the responsibility of driving and make the wrong choice to drive after having too much to drink.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young males are at particularly high risk, with nearly one-quarter admitting to riding with someone the past year who should not have been behind the wheel.

“This is a critical law enforcement operational period where we can make a difference and save lives during a time of the year when impaired driving typically increases,” said Phillips. “This initiative brings attention to the serious consequences of drunk driving and the grave danger those who choose to drink and drive pose to everyone.”

During the month of December last year, 753 people in the United States were killed in crashes that involved a driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.

Arkansas recorded 168 deaths as a result of alcohol-related crashes during 2009. That number represents 29 percent of the 585 traffic fatalities reported in the state during the same year.

Phillips urged, “We are asking all Arkansans to take extra caution in the coming weeks. Don’t let your year end in an arrest or worse, death. Remember, whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk.”

* The Arkansas Highway Safety Office offers the following tips for a safe holiday season:

* Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;

* Before drinking, designate a sober driver;

* If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely;

* Report impaired drivers to law enforcement;

* And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Take the keys and help them make other arrangements for safe travel.

For more information, visit or contact the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.